Grief and Gratitude

Sometimes on a day where your heart feels heavy and grief feels like too steady of a companion, the universe conspires to lift you up…

A visit to the garden in the morning yields an exuberance of blossoms. Pollinators tumble and bumble in and out of pollen-rich stamen. Peonies unfold in fragrant splendor. Sun sets a late-blooming poppy ablaze. A white crab spider lingers in a rugosa rose.

In early afternoon, an out-of-town friend calls and I pull myself out of low energy and an afternoon nap to meet her. To talk and walk. On that walk we stumble upon a garden of prayers for the Earth.

It is one woman’s intricate creation, open to the community. She is (by chance?) in her garden and explains: The prayer wheels are painted in Aboriginal style, in colors representing the Chinese elements. “I started to paint the dots,” she says, “and it wasn’t until I got underway, that I realized the dots were actually leading me.” Her garden is a place of welcome, tranquility and unity. Hope and harmony.

Later, after eating out, Kurt suggests that we take a walk, and though I yearn only to go home and cocoon, I acquiesce. And on the walk along abandoned railroad tracks out into a sort of forgotten wilderness, we see snapping turtles heaving their heavy bodies up by the tracks, churning up the earth to lay their precious eggs. Primal and sacred.

Further on, a beaver swims in lazy circles, undisturbed by our presence. It’s so quiet and so still that I can hear the beaver exhale over the water. A Baltimore oriole flashes tangerine in the leaves and a yellow warbler hops through the treetops. Far off in the distance a deer grazes.

Later, as we leave the tracks and head back toward the car, a mink appears by the side of the road. It’s not there. And then suddenly it is. It sees me and takes one step back with its catch firmly gripped in its mouth. It stops. We stand, frozen, eyes locked, for one long moment. Two creatures traveling along the same road.

Then it bounds across the pavement and disappears into the greenery.

Suddenly the day sort of spins into a wild joy or keening gratitude, kaleidoscoping all these moments.

And perhaps they are all the brighter for the sorrow that darkens their edges.

The poem from the prayer garden now seems especially apt:


“I thank you God for this most amazing day… blessed is the fruit of Thy womb. Who can number the sands of the seas and the drops of rain? Green trees spiraling to the sky, earth in their roots and heaven in their branches. Creatures of the field and forest, the sea. Our brothers & sisters who share our home. The Whole Universe is blessed…is lost in this Wonderful Holy Dance.”

6 thoughts on “Grief and Gratitude

  1. maryleehahn says:

    What generous gifts the Universe laid in your path! And how generous of YOU to share them…and your surging joy…with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. humbleswede says:

    I’m sorry for the grief, but so glad for the walks that you took. I think you captured more beautiful, stop-in-your-tracks photos in one day than I get in years. Thank you to you and to the universe…and the woman with the prayer garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is divine intervention at its most profound – at a time of lifelessness of spirit, God breathes life and love back into souls. I am deeply moved and love this post. The sign of different faith prayers is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

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